Blog & Thought Leadership Use Office 365 Collaboration Tools to Optimise Your Business Operations

According to a survey by Holmes Report, $37 billion was lost annually due to poor employee communication and misunderstanding. “Punctuality is the soul of business,” the saying goes; but communication is undoubtedly the bridge to profits.

With collaboration being the main driving force for sustained growth in SMEs, Microsoft Office 365 has become the go-to enterprise software tool to increase productivity, reduce infrastructural costs and ease communication between users.

Below are a few key tools in the Office 365 suite that will optimise your business operations.

1: Delve – Having trouble getting the information you need at the moment? Microsoft Office Delve; a cloud-based employee profile and content manager will organise your frequently used files for easy and speedy access.

Powered by Office Graph (a database that collects information on user identity and activity), Delve will give you information in line with what you are working on and with whom. Office Delve acts as a tool to create, edit, share and curate your content in one place – across the Office 365 environment.

2: Calendar and Email – With team calendars, you can manage your schedule more efficiently be they meetings, project timelines or company events. Microsoft calendars give you the ability to stay in sync with colleagues from virtually anywhere at any time.

Alongside, Microsoft Exchange Online email service provides a rich business class email function for all your internet-enabled devices. With Exchange Online, you have access to 50GB of mailbox space per user, all maintained by Microsoft so you wouldn’t have to worry about updates, security and backup.

3: Microsoft Flow – Flow is a cloud-based tool that allows users create and automate tasks across multiple applications and services. Automated tasks are known as Flows.

With Flow, you can automate repetitive tasks without a developer, saving you the cost of hiring new staff. Further, your in-house developers will focus on more productive activities. To create a Flow, a user must specify what action should occur when a specific event is triggered. Trigger notifications are the most common use of Microsoft Flow, where you can create an automated workflow to notify via email sales reps when a lead is added to the system.

4: OneDrive for Business – Have a project with many remote users?

Saving a file on OneDrive allows you to collaborate with multiple users in real time. An integral part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite, each user gets 1TB of space to store, sync and share work files. This cloud disk space is accessible from the web on your workstation, PC, mobile devices and smartphone.

With the right permission settings, you can control access to your files. And even if you edit content offline, it automatically syncs as soon as Wi-Fi is available.

5: SharePoint Online – An office suite of cloud and web-based apps; SharePoint Online delivers powerful enterprise features without the overhead costs of setting up the infrastructure in-house.

Microsoft SharePoint makes it easier for colleagues to work together, as they share ideas, manage and store information. Working on a project with several partners? With easy access to collaborative tools, SharePoint helps you quickly access the right people and information to make better decisions and complete your projects on time. And with flexible management options, you still maintain control even when you grant external users access.

6: PowerBI – Powered by business intelligence BI: a technology-driven process designed to help executives and other corporate end-users analyse data for actionable information; Microsoft’s PowerBI is a cloud-based self-service (available as a downloadable app for Windows 10, Android and iOS) that provides non-technical users with interactive tools for analysing, visualising and sharing reports without depending on IT staff or a database administrator.

An advanced data visualisation software, PowerBI brings your data to live, stimulating better collaboration with your teams for better decision making.

7: Yammer – A private microblogging and collaboration tool for enterprise social networking; Yammer provides a simple way for your team to connect and engage. On Yammer you can discuss ideas, share updates and source for up-to-date knowledge using the Discovery feed; a smart search that delivers personalised results, helpful in decision making.

Unlike social media platforms like Facebook, Yammer only allows users who belong to the same email domain to connect with each other. This feature enables corporate employees to communicate privately, using an intuitive UI for a seamless user experience.